What more can we do to stop the terrorists? Membership categories and moral accounting in a talk-radio debate

Kilby, Laura and Horowitz, Ava (2012) What more can we do to stop the terrorists? Membership categories and moral accounting in a talk-radio debate. In: Discourse Communication Conversation Conference, 21st - 23rd March 2012, Loughborough University. (Unpublished)

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Official URL: http://www-staff.lboro.ac.uk/~ssca1/DCconf2012/DCC...

Abstract

This presentation examines ways in which membership categories are worked up, accepted and resisted in terrorism talk within the context of a talk-­radio broadcast.
In line with Hutchby (2006), talk radio is conceptualised as offering a rare opportunity within media discourse for ‘lay’ and ‘elite’ voices to be heard side by side
in what can be understood as a site of “semi-institutional discourse” (Ilie, 2001, p. 218). The analysis presented involves a BBC Radio 5 phone-­‐in programme, which aired shortly after the failed terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow in June 2007. Inspired by early work by Sacks (1995), the spotlight that Jayyusi (1984) places upon examining membership categories as sites of relentlessly moral operation provides a crucial focus for the analysis of complex and layered membership categories involved in the broadcast. This includes the institutionally defined categories of ‘host’, ‘lay’ and ‘elite’ callers, and the ethnic/religious identity categories of ‘Muslim’ and ‘white Catholic’. Of particular interest is how the sequential convention of host-­controlled introductions empowers the host to define the call-­relevant identity (Fitzgerald & Housley, 2002) of each guest and to position callers via the membership affiliations made explicit in such introductions. Also highlighted are examples of the host’s reformulation of caller contributions so as to recast them in controversy-­augmenting ways. Alongside the analysis of this discursive work by the host is an exploration of the membership category work of the callers who are so identified, positioned and paraphrased. This presentation highlights how particular challenges and affordances connected to the membership category ‘Muslim’ come to the fore within the context of this terrorism talk, both as host-­and caller-­ initiated examples of locally enacted topic-relevance. In this way, the presentation offers a Critical Membership Categorisation Analysis, which demonstrates how conventional and structural features of this semi-institutional discourse operate in the local accomplishment of moral accountability and identity management.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:This presentation examines ways in which membership categories are worked up, accepted and resisted in terrorism talk within the context of a talk-­radio broadcast. In line with Hutchby (2006), talk radio is conceptualised as offering a rare opportunity within media discourse for ‘lay’ and ‘elite’ voices to be heard side by side in what can be understood as a site of “semi-institutional discourse” (Ilie, 2001, p. 218). The analysis presented involves a BBC Radio 5 phone-­‐in programme, which aired shortly after the failed terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow in June 2007. Inspired by early work by Sacks (1995), the spotlight that Jayyusi (1984) places upon examining membership categories as sites of relentlessly moral operation provides a crucial focus for the analysis of complex and layered membership categories involved in the broadcast. This includes the institutionally defined categories of ‘host’, ‘lay’ and ‘elite’ callers, and the ethnic/religious identity categories of ‘Muslim’ and ‘white Catholic’. Of particular interest is how the sequential convention of host-­controlled introductions empowers the host to define the call-­relevant identity (Fitzgerald & Housley, 2002) of each guest and to position callers via the membership affiliations made explicit in such introductions. Also highlighted are examples of the host’s reformulation of caller contributions so as to recast them in controversy-­augmenting ways. Alongside the analysis of this discursive work by the host is an exploration of the membership category work of the callers who are so identified, positioned and paraphrased. This presentation highlights how particular challenges and affordances connected to the membership category ‘Muslim’ come to the fore within the context of this terrorism talk, both as host-­and caller-­ initiated examples of locally enacted topic-relevance. In this way, the presentation offers a Critical Membership Categorisation Analysis, which demonstrates how conventional and structural features of this semi-institutional discourse operate in the local accomplishment of moral accountability and identity management.
Keywords:terrorism, talk-radio broadcast
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:5881
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:17 Jun 2012 10:58
Last Modified:04 Jul 2013 08:29

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